Lifelong learning for adults is an increasingly important educational specialization in the 21st century. Rapid changes are transforming society and making it critical for adults to continue to learn across the lifespan. Much of that learning takes place in classrooms, but a lot of learning also occurs informally through interaction in groups, communities, organizations, and social networks.
The Adult Learning & Leadership program, at the M.A. level, prepares professionals who facilitate learning within and outside the classroom. The intellectual framework of the program examines the relationship of adult learning to organizational, management and leadership issues. The program prepares students to understand adult learning and development, to design and deliver learning interventions, and to assist organizations, communities, or other institutions to support learning for individuals and for the organizations or other social units that benefit from the lifelong learning of its members.
The M.A., Ed.M., and Ed.D. programs in Adult Learning and Leadership are structured around a sequence of core courses, research requirements and electives.
Each program has between two and three required foundations courses. In addition, students may choose courses to take in the areas of adult development, adult learning theory and applications, program development and evaluation, systems learning, leadership, strategy and management, human resource development, group dynamics, organizational behavior, technology, conflict resolution, and research. At least one course is to be taken (or in some cases, can be transferred from prior accredited graduate study) in each of these twelve areas, no matter what the degree level. Many of these courses are offered by the ADUL Program or the O &L Department; other courses can be taken elsewhere in Teachers College or Columbia University.
Foundations (6-9 credits, depending on degree program):
Adult Development (3-6 credits, depending on degree program):
Adult Learning Theory and Applications (6-14 credits, depending on degree program):
Program Development and Evaluation (3 credits):
Systems Learning (3 credits):
Leadership (3 credits):
Strategy and Management (3 credits):
Human Resource Development (3 credits):
Group Dynamics (3 credits):
Organizational Behavior (3 credits):
Technology (3 credits):
Conflict Resolution (minimum of 3 points):
M.A. (minimum 3 points):
Electives include, but may not be limited to, courses in conflict resolution, policy and evaluation, technology for learning, and management/information systems. These are tailored to the student’s career goals and can be taken in the Department or elsewhere in Teachers College or Columbia University. Electives can include transfer courses. Students are required to take a minimum of 6 points total at Teachers College outside of our immediate program area to satisfy the Teachers College breadth requirement.
M.A. (Culminating Project)
Guidelines for the M.A. Culminating Project are available in the Program of Study Advisement Guides (as PDF files) located on the Adult Learning and Leadership program website.
Students should meet with their advisor the semester before they plan on graduating to review the guidelines.
The M.A. program in Adult Learning and Leadership is structured around a sequence of core courses, research requirements, and electives. In addition to three required Foundations courses, students may choose courses to take in the following areas: adult development; adult learning theory and applications; program development and evaluation; systems learning; leadership; strategy and management; human resource development; group dynamics; organizational behavior; technology; conflict resolution; and research. At least one course is to be taken in each of these twelve areas no matter what the degree level. Many of these courses are offered by the Program or the Department; other courses can be taken elsewhere in Teachers College or Columbia University.
All required M.A. courses are listed in the general course information. Please see the most recent Program of Study Advisement Guide (located on the Adult Learning and Leadership program website as a PDF file) for actual core sequence requirements.
A culminating project is required. At the M.A. level, the culminating project is usually an application to real-world problems.
Period of Candidacy (Master's Degrees)
Candidates must be formally admitted to a degree program by the Office of Admission. The period of candidacy for the degrees of Master of Arts, Master of Science, and Master of Education is limited to five years. Every candidate for the Master of Arts, Master of Science, and Master of Education must complete at least 16 points through Teachers College during the final five-year period prior to the award of the degree so as to meet recency requirements. A candidate may petition the Registrar for an extension of time for adequate reasons if the student has been in attendance in the degree program within the last five years. In such cases, an extension must be recommended by the major advisor and approved by the Registrar. Upon approval, all current degree requirements including the departmental integrative project and at least 16 points to satisfy the recency requirement must be completed. Petitions for extension may be obtained through the Office of the Registrar. If a student has not been in attendance within the last five years and wishes to pursue the completion of the degree, the student must reapply for admission and be accepted into the degree program. Applications for re-admission may be obtained from the Office of Admission. Applications for re-admission follow the same processes and standards as those for initial admission. If a student is subsequently readmitted to a Master's degree program with a period of candidacy after the expiration of the initial five-year period of candidacy, all current degree requirements including the departmental integrative project and at least 16 points to meet recency requirements must be completed.